Category: Hilton Head



After the 4th of July, it was time to pack for a quick trip to Hilton Head to pick up Ray’s 2003 t-bird, which was still down there, and needed to come back to New York to be inspected. On July 6th we drove south together to accomplish this task. This would not be a long trip, and definitely was not considered a “vacation”. We planned only to spend two days there to rest up before returning north again, with Ray driving the t-bird and me driving our Ford Edge. Of course I took the time to take some photos while we were there…

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1. Front Yard – Hilton Head Island
2. Sego Palm branch
3. Sego Palm

We didn’t do all that much during the two days there in order to rest for our return trip. The weather was hot — triple digit hot — so we limited our outside activities unless absolutely necessary. However, I connected with my friend, Kim – and we took a sunset photo walk on a beach up in Sea Pines the night before we left. It was hot and humid – even at that hour of the day, but the breeze was stiff which tempered the heat.

However, I ran into an interesting problem when I tried to take photos. The temperature and humidity difference between the air conditioned house and car and the hot sticky beach was great and my camera’s lens totally fogged up – – so much so that when it was at it’s worst, there was no way the camera would auto focus on anything. When I looked through the camera, it was like looking through my own foggy eye glasses when there is a change in temperature from cold to warm, so I understood what was going on. It’s not as if this was the first time this has happened to me with a camera, either. However, it seemed to take an unusually long time for the lens to finally right itself. Kim wasn’t having issues, and was taking photos, which worried me some. I didn’t know if I should intervene and clean it – but my instinct told me not to mess with that inner lens – especially on a windy, sandy beach where sand particles could get inside. Thankfully, right before the sunset, it finally cleared out – – just in time!

Here are pictures as taken through the foggy lens once it would auto focus:

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1. The first picture my camera took with foggy lens of sea debris
2. Oddly beautiful — eerie – facing into the sun.

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1. Professional photographers often use the beach as a backdrop for formal family photos, and this family is organizing for their picture. I think the choice of turquoise is nice contrast to the color of the sand.
2. The water is “liquid gold”!

The Sunset
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Sunset – far away and close up

If you wish to see any of my photos larger, click on them to see them in Flickr.

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Our trip north was when things deteriorated with my 365 photo project. I’d planned to quick run out and take one last photo of the lagoon the morning we left Hilton Head. I went to get my camera, which I’d placed in the “staging area” of our living room – but my husband had been ever so vigilant – and the camera had been long since packed in the car – and buried under a multitude of other things. There was no way I could unearth it for the photo… 😦 However, when I ran out to remove the bird feeders (which is such a sad job for me, so I wait to do it at the very last minute — the morning we are leaving), there was a most magnificent Great Blue Heron walking right on our lawn along the shore of the lagoon. I stopped short and looked at him — and “snapped the photo” in my mind. If only that camera was with me… I looked at him squarely in the eye — and he looked at me. I finally said … out loud, “Goodbye sweet Great Blue Heron, I will miss you so very much. I’ll see you in the fall.” Yeah — I know … I’m sappy. I thought my voice would scare him and he’d fly off – but he continued to look at me even as I said, “I love you sweet birdie”. I don’t know if he/she was the bird who belonged to the nest we had in our yard this spring, but I also thanked him for allowing me to see his nest while he/she raised his/her babies. He continued to look at me, but then started walking slowly across our yard — and faced the lagoon – fishing, as always.

So – – in honor of this great blue heron — a photo of another one is my photo of the day. I’m sorry that the “real” photo is only in my mind and that I can’t share it here, but here is a photo of another great blue heron in it’s place:

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365 substitute photo of the day #129 (May 8) of a great blue heron taken 1/7/11 on the shores of our lagoon

And … with that we were on our way north…

The following day was a complete blur, and once my camera was unpacked, I was way too exhausted to even think about a photo of the day. These trips north (or south) with the cats are tiring, and fray my nerves. I need to remember that they always end up fine, and that it’s my lack of confidence in the entire process that makes me nervous.

365 photo #130 — Epic Fail. (May 9)

365 photo #131 — Another Epic Fail. Wildly distracted in “Unpacking hell”! (May 10)

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365 photo #132 (May 11) — Finally a photo was taken. This is a mirror which we purchased from Lori Wilkinson, a vendor at “Springtime Made in the South” in February. Check out her website to see more of her wonderful work! I knew when I purchased it where it would go – in the dressing area of the bedroom. It’s made of a lovely color combination of mosaic tile and it’s gorgeous. You can see the reflection of the window to the back yard in the mirror.

365 photo #133 (May 12) – Another Epic Fail. How did that day get away from me? I was getting nervous that this project was headed for the trash. Even with forgetfulness, however, I have decided to continue…

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365 photo #134 (May 13) – a sparrow of some kind – – I hope not a house sparrow, as they are the arch enemy of bluebirds and bluebird nests. I think it’s a song sparrow, though, and it was singing it’s heart out the entire time I was snapping photos! It was taken – by chance in one of our bushes. Our feeders were not yet up at this point.

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365 photo #135 (May 14) – azalea bush in full bloom – with the rhododendron bush next to it just coming into bloom

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365 photo #136 (May 15) – Sweet Little Misty kitty. I almost forgot to take the photo that day! The cats have made themselves at home in their Long Island home!

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365 photo #137 (May 16) – the rhododendron buds are are beginning to bloom!

And .. with that I will end for this entry, but will continue with the catch-up soon…. Stay tuned!


The Savannah trip to see the Tall Ships was Ray’s and my last special event in Hilton before our trip north. The last two days were spent mostly packing and organizing, and photography had to take a back seat. But – I did manage to take photos on those days.

Sunday, May 6th was a Sunday, and after church – and before settling down to serious packing – I noticed a few more magnolia blooms were out. The tree is rarely covered because the squirrels get the blooms, smash them to the ground and I suppose find the seeds within. But – this one was still securely on the tree and just about ready to open:

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365 photo #127

By the following day – Monday, May 7th – both Ray and I were mostly packed and our stuff was “staged” in the living room in readiness to load the cars. The idea was to get most of this done the day before we left, so we could leave pronto on Tuesday morning, May 8th. When I took this photo, a certain percentage of the luggage had already been packed in the cars, so you get an idea of the magnitude of what we transport each time we move from one abode to the other. I often wonder how we could cut back on the amount, but it doesn’t ever seem to happen….

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365 photo #128

No bonus photos 😦

Next Stop — Eastern Long Island!


To continue… We had another week left in Hilton Head after our wonderful walk – so here are some more daily photos:

On the side of our house on Hilton Head, we have lots of bushes, trees and pine straw. This photo is of a fungus of sorts that was growing on the stump of a tree which had been cut down quite a while ago… It’s amazing what these things can grow from, and the intricacies of the growth. At the time I took the photo, everything was wet, but it was from our sprinkler system, which is turned on when things are dry.

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365 photo #123 (May 2) — the fungus on the tree stump
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365 photo #124 (May 3) — A female cardinal in the pine tree. I stand quietly in the yard and wait for these birds to become visible in a tree…
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365 photo #125 (May 4) — sweet Felix on the couch in the great room

On Saturday, May 5th Ray and I went to Savannah to see the Tall ships, and I’ll leave those photos for their own entry.


Whew! It’s taken me way too long to get back to blogging since our trip north. Though stressful, the trip went well. The cats were excellent travelers, although Felix’ “meow voice” was working over time! We are now safely settled into our home on Long Island, but during this period of time, I’ve been distracted and scattered, so much so that there were three days when I did not get that daily photo taken. I had vowed not to allow that to happen, but perfection is elusive. My few days “lapse” will not stop me from continuing to take daily photos.

As I said I would do, I’m going to return to the beauty of Hilton Head in order to update my daily photos from the last days on Hilton Head before heading north. It will be fun to relive it.

On May 1st, I took a gorgeous sunrise walk on Folly Field Beach with my friend, Kim. We moved from Folly Field, to Port Royal Beach, then onto to the edge of Mitchelville, where the ocean moves into Port Royal Sound. It was a leisurely walk, as we stopped often along the way to take photos of whatever fancied us. I’m not much of am morning person, so I miss way too many sunrises. However, once I’ve managed to tear myself out of my cozy bed, I’m always grateful that I’ve made the effort. That time of day has the best lighting for photos, as well as being much cooler and more comfortable in spring and summer. As we finished our walk, the temperature got oppressively warm, I was anxious to get out of the sun and the heat.

It will be difficult to choose one photo to be the photo of the day for May 1st – but with the option of bonus photos – I’ll just choose one:

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365 photo #122. I have never considered jellyfish to be attractive or pretty, but they become almost like a stained glass window in the low morning light! There were tons of them on the beach that morning

Bonus photos:

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1. Good Morning! Sunrise!
2. Tide Pool reflections (of a house on the shoreline)

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1. surf line — with sea foam
2. sea creatures and plants – including whelk egg sacs

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1. shell – we placed it on end like this for photographic purposes
2. driftwood

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1. snowy egret
2. pelicans and sea gulls out on the sand bar

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1. sanderling – oh my do they love to scurry on the beach!
2. more driftwood out in the tide pools – with barnacles

I think it may be time to see what the beach is like here — before the tourists invade. We don’t have much more time until then….

More catch up in next entry…


This is our last day in Hilton Head for the season. Tomorrow we head north to eastern Long Island for the summer (and part of the fall), and I am having withdrawal pains — missing the “wildlife in my backyard” already. The way I get photos will be very different up there, in that there’s not as much nature close by to me, and – frankly – it will take more work and “hunting” for the nature I so crave now. I suspect there will be more days when my daily photos will be more mundane. But – I will work to find places to go to show you some of the beauties of Long Island. We live less than a mile from the ocean beach. But – it’s different – and crammed with sun bathing tourists in the summer. Wildlife – understandably “scatters” while humans take over the sandy beaches.

I am so behind in posting here – – but I have not forgotten to take my daily photos. Admittedly some have been “rushed” – as I have been busy packing and doing the necessary chores one has to do before leaving one home and going to another. But — I will take the time to post once I’m safely settled up north. It will be nice to reminisce about my time here as I go through my photos to post them.

Sadly I must add one last thing. I am now almost positive that my backyard bluebird nest met with a bad ending. Mom and pop bluebird do not come anymore – and I see even more unidentifiable “dead looking things” on the ground surrounding the bird box. They do look like the tiniest birds… 😦 So sad, and I really don’t know what happened. Predator? Disease?

I probably should clean out the bird box before leaving, but I probably won’t. I admit – I’m a little scared to look inside. But – in the fall, when no one is nesting, I will clean it out and rehang it — this time NOT on a tree, but on a pole. Predators can too easily invade the nest from a tree where it’s much more difficult using a pole that has a predator guard.

See you soon — from eastern Long Island!


As we enter the last week we will be here for this season, I’m relishing all that nature has to offer us right in our own back yard. Sometimes I’m amazed at how many species of animals live in close proximity to one other – most times amicably. Different kinds of songbirds frequent the feeders without concern for the other. Admittedly, certain birds can be more feisty and chase the more docile away, but basically it’s ok. But – there are dangers that lurk, and sometimes I wonder about the tension that exists for most species – just to exist. Birds, rodents, and squirrels worry about raptors. Fish worry about ospreys and human fishermen. And, all small animals worry about the alligator.

I don’t think they worry in the sense that humans worry. They are programmed to take the precautions that they do, so it comes naturally. It’s not “worry” or any kind of “intellect” or “thought” which which causes their actions. They simply do what their instinct tells them to do with no human emotions attached. Maybe there is an advantage in not knowing the ramifications to their life. They just … “live” … as God intended. (Might we learn a little from this way of being?) However, from the human vantage point, life is hard in nature. And, it’s hard for me to watch as I sometimes project my human emotions onto animals in the wild. I wonder what the percentage is of baby animals in the wild which actually make it to adulthood? It’s different for every species, I know…

Yesterday when we were talking with our neighbor, he told us that last year the ospreys lost a baby which fell out of the nest located across the lagoon from us. The crows are relentless in pursuit of nesting ospreys – tormenting the parents, and working hard to get the eggs – as well as – I think – the babies. According to our neighbor, it was a crow that caused the accident – and they happened to be looking when it happened.

In reading about bluebirds, I was astounded at the predators which can invade bluebird nests – house sparrows, snakes, squirrels, and even cats. I now realize that having my bluebird box attached on a tree rather than a pole is dangerous as it allows more easy access to predators to climb up and get inside. Today these thoughts came to mind when inspecting the bluebird nest area. I noticed on the grass not far from the box some evidence of “something unidentifiable” that appeared dead. It was so small and there were no feathers, nor did it appear to be the right color, but I still wondered if it was a bluebird baby, mainly because of the proximity to the bluebird box. Clearly I am very inexperienced! However, not long after the father bluebird came to the box and I could – again – hear the little bluebirds inside. Maybe it was only one baby? Maybe it was something else? But – I just don’t know.

With all this in mind, my 365 photos will include many parts of nature that live close by to me:

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365 photo #119 – the alligator. I am always watchful when I’m walking not far from the lagoon edge. I’m always looking for a gator head pointed at the shoreline – or watchful that one is silently sunning itself not far from the edge. They are so quiet and still when lying there that sometimes you don’t realize he’s there until you’re quite near. With that in mind, I noticed one on the bank before I went outside the other day. I did go out – but snapped the photo from the safety of the patio – with my 100-400 lens!
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365 photo #120 — the magnolias are out! However, the squirrels love them. As fast as they bloom the squirrels get the blooms and drop them to the ground. I guess they like the seeds therein. So – this tree never covered with these white blooms, but they come out – one at a time – and leave just as quickly

Bonus photos:

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1. Click to see this photo larger, so you can really see the osprey, as he was quite far away. The crow was bothering him – and when he left this perch, he flew with the crow taunting him – in hot pursuit!
2. A gecko on the side of the bluebird box. I flicked him off as I do not want him to get inside. Not sure he’s a danger – but didn’t want him there anyway.
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365 photo #121. We are in a drought now, so we have our sprinkler system scheduled to come on in different spots periodically throughout the day. Just after the sprinklers stopped on these leaves in the front yard, I took a photo of the droplets.

Bonus photos:

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1. Mrs. Bluebird posing for the camera on top of the bluebird box
2. one random leaf – changing color.

I’m not caught up yet, but yesterday I took a sunrise photo walk along Folly Field Beach, and I think I’ll devote an entire entry to that… So — til next time…!


I’m still into birds, but have decided not to make another bluebird my photo of the day. Yes – I am taking daily photos of mom and dad bluebird as they come in and out of the box. I stand close (but not too close) so that I can hear the babies squeal as one of their parents brings in a new worm or bug for them to eat. As each day goes by, their chirping and squealing gets louder, and I now can almost hear them when standing on the patio! It warms my heart to hear them, knowing I have a nest only a few feet from our house. I remain clueless as to when the eggs hatched to how old the baby birds are and when they might fledge. I searched on the internet to learn how long the babies are in the nest before they fledge, and it’s about 16 – 22 days. From the audible sounds of them – it’s possible that it could be next week… I’ve been reading up on what to do with the birdbox after they have fledged, and, from what it says in this site, it’s important to immediately clean the nest out of the bird box, then wash out the box because they might start all over again in only a few days. Bluebirds have several broods a season. We’re only here until a week from Monday – a little more than a week, so we may not be able to clean out the box. 😦

But – I digress…

Yesterday’s photo of the day will be something NONbird. in the front yard of our house, I love my sego palm, so today’s photo is a close up of the branches and some pine tree droppings that fall on them in sometimes artistic ways…

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365 photo #117

Now – for the bonus photos – – and yes – they will be birds! 🙂

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1. Cardinal in the tree. Clearly there are turf wars with the male cardinals in our yard now. During nesting season this is very common
2. Here is Daddy Bluebird carrying one huge bug into the nest for the babies dinner! 🙂

For today’s 365 photo, I found a great blue heron fishing in our neighbor’s yard in front of the lagoon. I took lots of photos and here’s one of a close up of this upper torso. He was so focused on his fishing that he barely had time to be worried about me slowly getting closer to him to get the photos.

Speaking of nests, the great blue heron is still on his nest high up on the tree that overlooks the lagoon in our yard – only a few feet from the bluebird nest. I find it fascinating that they both are so different, yet are nesting so close by each other. Might we humans learn a bit about peaceful co-existence from our birdie friends?? I don’t know the status of eggs / babies, as I can’t see from the ground vantage point.

Here is the the great blue fishing:

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365 photo #118

Bonus photos:

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1. a soaring osprey. Not that great a photo as I clipped one of it’s wings, but I’m learning….
2. portrait of that fishing egret.

Don’t expect much in the way of bird photos once we go north. Nothing like this anyway…. 😦


Ok … I admit it. I’m addicted to birds! I never thought this would happen, as this interest has come later in my life. When I was a child, I could not identify any birds, except maybe a robin. My mom had feeders outside her kitchen window, but I didn’t watch or even notice them much. Then a few years ago, I met my bird loving best friend, Claire, then took up photography. Though I’m still very ignorant on bird identification, I’m slowly learning the names of the birds in my backyard.

With that said, my 365 photo will — again — be of the female bluebird bringing in a huge bug to feed the babies. You can click on this photo and see it much larger. And, it was especially exciting for me to note that when I stood somewhat close to the bluebird box, I could hear the babies chirping – probably begging for food. At that time, I don’t think either parent was inside, as I had been watching them go in and out, and the babies were probably calling for them. My box is a side loading box, and it would be much too invasive for me to watch.

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365 photo #116

I hope we have not left for Long Island before they fledge. Since I’m not sure when the eggs were laid, nor when they were hatched, it’s hard to predict, but I think it will be iffy that we’ll still be around. We have only 1 1/2 week left here. What a bummer to leave in the middle of this!

Also — the great blue heron is still sitting on the nest, but the male isn’t around much anymore that I have seen (unless they switch roles).

Bonus photos:

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1. A male cardinal in the bush — letting himself be seen in the bright sun!
2. The one non bird photo — some weeds growing by the edge of the lagoon

I cannot believe how many birds are flying around our yard. I go out with my camera – or not – and stand quietly and they are flying – almost as if in a frenzy. They are feeding on the grass, and flying back and forth from the trees on either side of the yard, often stopping off at the feeders to have a nip of seed. I can hear them in the trees calling to each other – but usually can’t find them. These birds are busy and very focused, and sometimes squabbling for “turf” or “territory”. I suspect we have lots of nests around, and these birds are busy trying to feed and raise babies. Except for the great blue heron and the nest in the bluebird box, I don’t know where the other nests are. The seed in the feeder is being eaten faster than ever before. Even though there is great activity, and they are more visible than usual, they are very hard to photograph, as they are just out of sight, or extra skittish if in sight.

Today’s 365 photo will be what I believe to be a juvenile male cardinal. This is the same cardinal who was one of yesterday’s bonus photos. It’s my opinion that he’s brighter than a female cardinal – and I see some red on his belly and side making me think that his color is changing. But — I am only guessing. Check out the seed he’s dropping from his mouth! 🙂 (Taken from inside the house from the sliding glass door.

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365 photo #115

Bonus photos:

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1. This is not a well composed or good photo, but it’s an interesting one. I caught the female bluebird flying out of the bluebird box!
2. three birds on the edge of the lagoon. Not sure what they are
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